Australian cities world-leading smugness rankings are at risk with new research suggesting that life in the big smokes is not as flash as all those most liveable city scores suggest. Jonathan Arundel from RMIT and colleagues from his university, Australian Catholic U and UWA (with help from a bunch of others) have assessed “evidence-based national liveability indicators.” Using indicators, including walking-distance, community, public transport, public open space, housing affordability and employment they find that for many city-life is not so flash.
“Australian cities are generally regarded, by international standards, as very liveable. Yet significant work remains to be done. One important task will be to remove well-recognised inequities within and between Australian cities in the provision of infrastructure and services that create liveable communities,” they write.
The research breaks down the per centage of households in cities across the country with access to services. Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney do best for access to a public transport stop but buy a car if you are in Darwin or Canberra. It shows the per centage of households in the bottom 40 per cent of incomes spending 30 per cent or more of household income on housing ranges from 31.07 per cent in Hobart to 38 per cent in Sydney. And it sets out households with 1km of a supermarket, which is 16.8 per cent in Darwin and 40.7 per cent in Sydney.
There is much more, making this way-more accurate a guide to city living than the sushi and champagne indexes used by international recruiters to set CEO pay rates.
“Overall, no Australian city performed well on all indicators of policy implementation or national liveability, with some cities performing better on some indicators and weaker on others,” they conclude.
If the Australian Research Council is looking for a benchmark for applied social research this will do it.